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Neither disengagement nor blind loyalty to the GOP

I know that many of us on the center right are very unhappy with the Republican Party, both here in Ohio and on the national level. RINO-bashing is easy partly because so many of them surtround us (God knows I enjoy it myself). But let’s not get carried away by sitting out the November ’06 election in an attempt to “teach the moderates a lesson.”
We conservatives can’t afford to sit out elections when things don’t go our way every time. We have to stay engaged. Our best bet is to neutralize liberals, change moderates into conservatives, and turn conservatives into activists. Our battlegrounds include county party organizations, primary races, and the new media. We won’t win every fight, but if we keep pushing and making steady gains every other year we’ll reinvigorate the center right in the Republican Party.
I usually think of the typical conservative as someone who stands athwart history yelling “stop” (thank you, Mr. Buckley). But if you think about it, that means that it’s not the liberals who are fighting inertia. We are! Government’s default behavior is to slide toward statism and socialism. The public has inevitably learned that it can vote itself largesse from the public treasury*, so it falls to conservatives to stop the slide and drag society back toward liberty.
When we disengage as Steven Kelso is tempted to do, we allow the socialist slide to accelerate. That’s not the smart way to teach moderates and liberals a lesson. We need to constantly persuade and demonstrate and illustrate so that we can recruit enough conservatives to dig in and reverse the slide. We can’t win over the DeWines and the Voinoviches, but we can eventually replace them with folks like Bill Pierce. Jim Geraghty summarizes the strategy nicely here and here and here and here.
I realize that it gets tiring to fight and lose as much as we do, but if we don’t fight we’ll lose everything. Pause and catch your breath, conservatives, but don’t quit.
Cross-posted at the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance